Columbo Does Cliche

Peter Falk in Columbo: Uneasy Lies the Crown (1990)

Dr. Wesley Corman (James Read) has always known that his father-in-law didn't really like him and only tolerated him and his gambling because of his daughter Lydia (Jo Anderson). So when Lydia meets another man, actor Adam Evans (Marshall R. Teague), and decides with some help from her father that their marriage is over Wesley comes up with a devious plan to murder her lover and set her up to take the fall in order to prevent her father collecting on all the debts he has paid off for Wesley. But when the sharp eyed Lieutenant Columbo (Peter Falk) attends the scene he immediately becomes suspicious.

Yes the sharp eyed Columbo is a man of detail and it is the initial details which make you smile as when he is called to the scene of an apparent car going over the edge of a cliff side road he notices a grain of salt on the victims lip and the car is in neutral. Of course the car in neutral is his clue to know that it is murder but the salt, that is the clue to the actual murder and that connects the dots back to a possible killer and then of course a motive. It is all incredibly typical but it has to be said not as comical as some of these later Columbo TV movies.

James Read and Jo Anderson in Columbo: Uneasy Lies the Crown (1990)

The thing is that "Columbo: Uneasy Lies the Crown" has a distinctly familiar feel to it not just in that of course it being stereotypical in style but the storyline feels familiar. That comes from it feeling like it uses the same ideas you will find in many a crime movie; as such we have an alibi involving a poker night, drugs in a margheritta, a dead man put in his car and pushed over a cliff and many more which end up feeling cliche. I suppose that could be down to this episode of Columbo being written by Steven Bochco who think of a crime TV series and he has probably written an episode or two. But what this does mean is that with exception of some actors cameoing as themselves this TV movie doesn't really have anything stand out going on.

What this all boils down to is that "Columbo: Uneasy Lies the Crown" is entertaining and Peter Falk delivers his usual enjoyable performance. But there is something almost generic about it which is a shame as it makes it forgettably ordinary.

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